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Six years ago, I was honored to be named President & CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Centers (Peak Vista).

I have served Peak Vista for 26 years in various roles, and I have witnessed Peak Vista’s dynamic transformation from one small health center that served fewer than 5,000 patients to a large health center that is a leading advocate and health care provider for individuals and families with limited access to quality care in the Pikes Peak and East Central regions of Colorado.

Today, almost 1,000 dedicated employees, who consist of almost 200 providers, serve our 92,000 patients and Peak Vista generates positive economic impacts of over $1 million, including jobs, tax revenues and savings to the health care system. Peak Vista is one of the state’s larger health centers and delivers comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary health, dental and integrated behavior health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay, geographical barriers, cultural needs or health complexities, becoming one of the largest safety net systems in the community.

Every year, summer brings an opportunity for us to celebrate the long and successful history of health centers and highlight the impact we have and the communities we serve: National Health Center Week, Aug. 12–18.

Peak Vista Community Health Centers looks forward to participating in this important event every year.

When visiting our health centers, I witness the value of having a patient-centered health care home for primary care and the impact it has toward a healthier community.

We ensure those in our community a place for regular care. Our exceptional team offers a range of comprehensive services onsite –adult primary care, pediatrics, senior health care, dentistry, behavioral health services, women’s health including obstetrics, pharmacy and many ancillary outpatient programs — in 26 health centers caring for an average of 1,400 patients daily. Our patients not only get the care they need under one roof, but they are treated as individuals, with dignity and respect.

This is what health care should always be and we are proud to celebrate it during National Health Center Week. We are continually grateful to the community for their support.

The truth of the matter is; one in seven in the state of Colorado, almost 800,000 Coloradans, depends on health center services. Peak Vista, along with 1,400 federal qualified community health centers nationwide; enable vulnerable populations that include children and seniors to high quality care.

Peak Vista recently developed our Education Health Initiative to address the shortage of health care workers. It consists of a unique tiered plan that includes with Peak Vista’s Family Medicine Residency program, dual accredited thus accepting MDs and DOs, which focuses on providing exceptional training and development for new physicians and consists of 24 residents.

Other key programs include the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Primary Care Fellowship with the third class totaling 15 graduates which welcomes fellows from all over the nation. Peak Vista became a host clinic for the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement, and produced our own Dental Assistant Program.

All this rounded off with offering externships for future health care administrative positions.

We are fortunate to have a number of philanthropists along with 15 local community board members who fully support our mission; to provide exceptional health care to people facing access barriers through clinical programs and education.

For 47 years, Peak Vista has been dedicated to creating healthier lives. I am humbled to lead a health center that continues to offer quality services to all and to serve a board of directors that is autonomous and collaborative. I truly believe that community health centers are a key solution to the future of health care, and I look forward to see how they continue to make a difference for so many.

Pam McManus is president & CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Centers.

Pam McManus is President & CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Centers.

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